Navigating the Brooklyn Wedding Scene: Top Planning Mistakes to Avoid

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Brooklyn, with its vibrant energy and diverse neighborhoods, has become an increasingly popular destination for couples seeking a unique and stylish wedding celebration. Planning a wedding in Brooklyn offers a plethora of possibilities, from trendy venues to culinary delights and artistic touches. However, navigating the intricacies of a Brooklyn wedding requires careful consideration to avoid common planning pitfalls. In this blog post, we’ll explore some key wedding planning mistakes to steer clear of with the help of some of our favorite vendors, ensuring a seamless and unforgettable wedding experience in the heart of Brooklyn.

1. Neglecting Vendor Meals

Jose De Leon, a top bilingual DJ in NJ and owner of LEM Entertainment offers this reminder. “Don’t forget to feed your photographer, videographer, DJ, and Day of Coordinator. “You want peak performance so make sure there’s fuel in the engine.”

2. Omitting Contingency Plans 

Two owners from the famed Bunn DJ Company weighed in from their locations in the Carolinas. “Make sure you work with a DJ who has backup – both in personnel and equipment. Things happen and you want to make sure there’s a plan in place,” says Brandon Alley, owner of the Charlotte wedding DJ  division of Bunn.

3. Neglecting Venue Availability and Booking

Brooklyn boasts an array of remarkable wedding venues, from historic landmarks to industrial lofts and rooftop spaces. However, these venues tend to book up quickly, especially during peak wedding season. Failing to secure your desired venue well in advance can lead to disappointment and limit your options. Start your search early, contact venues promptly, and be flexible with dates if necessary to secure the perfect Brooklyn venue for your special day.

4. Not Expanding the Entertainment Offerings 

While dancing is a big part of a wedding reception, not all of your guests are going to want to hit the dance floor, explains David Fox, owner of the Charleston wedding DJ division of Bunn. “Keep them entertained with games, a character station, or a photo booth.

5. Disregarding Professional Help 

Cape Cod officiant Jill Meyer of Write Weddings not only performs weddings, she also helps write wedding vows for couples nationwide. She encourages them to put a great deal of energy into writing their vows. “Unique, heartfelt, authentic wedding vows make a ceremony so much more meaningful, not only for the couple, but for all the guests. Not getting additional professional help to eloquently share those sentiments is a lost opportunity for couples to express their best selves.”

6. Waiting to Book

Key West wedding planner Michael Vernon, owner of Conch Concierge Weddings, offers this advice. “Avoid waiting until the last minute to book vendors, especially if you are getting married on a Saturday or during a prime time of the year.”

7. Underestimating Guest Transportation and Accommodation

Brooklyn’s diverse neighborhoods can present challenges when it comes to guest transportation and accommodation. Many venues might not have ample parking, and relying solely on public transportation might not be feasible for all guests. Research transportation options and consider providing shuttle services or suggesting nearby accommodations for out-of-town guests. By addressing these logistical aspects, you can ensure that all your guests arrive at the venue smoothly and enjoy a stress-free experience.

8. Not Factoring in the Details 

You may not be familiar with all the fees associated with planning a sit down dinner reception and can underestimate costs. “Be sure you understand the difference between a service charge and a gratuity,” offers Gregg Carlyle owner of Millennium Center, an historic wedding venue in Winston-Salem, NC. “A service charge covers a venue or caterer’s fixed costs while a gratuity is for the service.”

9. Forgetting the Overall Purpose 

Photography team Shado and Isabelle, owners of Shado of a Rose and two of the trendiest Portland Maine wedding photographers, share this piece of advice. “Time and time again, we see couples drive themselves literally crazy planning a wedding and forgetting the overall purpose is to honor the relationship and the choice to create a union between each other. Although it’s a family affair, it’s about what you want, not about what everyone else expects. We always say, make it about YOU. What feels most important to you!”

10. Overlooking Local Permit Requirements

Brooklyn is known for its unique outdoor spaces, such as parks and waterfront locations, which can be ideal for a picturesque wedding. However, utilizing these spaces often requires permits and adherence to specific guidelines. Failing to obtain the necessary permits or overlooking local regulations can result in unexpected complications or fines on your wedding day. Research the specific requirements for your chosen outdoor location and secure the permits well in advance to avoid any last-minute issues.

11. Missing Your Venue’s Plan B 

Have your heart set on getting married outdoors?” asks Kathy Gibson of Occasions at Laguna Village, a waterfront wedding venue in Laguna Beach. “Avoid venues that don’t have a Plan B in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.”

12. Ignoring The Value of a Timeline 

Do not underestimate the value of a timeline,” explains wedding DJ Brendan Lafferty of B-Sharp Entertainment. “While you may want your wedding to have its own ebb and flow, a timeline is essential for your vendors, venue, and caterer in order to produce an amazing reception.”

13. Neglecting the Guest List

When you have a grip on your guest list, you’ll find it easier to make budget decisions. “The cornerstone of your budget is your guest list,” says Shannon Loiacono of Limousines Inc, a prominent limousine company serving Maryland and Washington DC.  “If you let it become a moving target, you won’t be able to keep expenses in line for important needs like limousines.”

14. Ignoring Brooklyn’s Signature Vendors and Suppliers

Brooklyn is home to a vibrant community of talented vendors and suppliers who can add a distinct touch to your wedding. From artisanal bakers and local florists to indie musicians and photographers, Brooklyn offers a wealth of creative professionals. Neglecting to explore these local vendors may cause you to miss out on unique and personalized elements that capture the essence of Brooklyn. Take the time to research and connect with Brooklyn-based vendors who align with your vision, as they can contribute to a truly authentic and memorable wedding experience.

15. Underrating the Value of Wedding Vendors 

Don’t be tempted to hire a vendor based just on pricing,” says Heather Laughman, owner of Central PA Wedding Shows and the top producer of wedding shows in Central PA. “Take time to explore your options and understand the value behind the products and services you’re comparing.

16. Overcommitting Yourself to DIY Projects 

Taking on too many decor tasks is a wedding planning trap to avoid. “Beware of DIY overload,” says Aly Heintz Raddatz of Elevated Events, a Chicago event decorating company, which also features DJs and photo booths. “Your time has value, so be mindful of what you want to take on yourself.”

17. Not Allowing Enough Transportation Time 

When it comes to planning a day-of schedule, not allowing enough transportation time is a common mistake, says Brittanie Pate of The Elia, a new wedding venue in Wilmington, NC. “Not only do you need to calculate how long it will take to get to the ceremony site but also to the reception if it’s in another location.”

18. Overcomplicating the Theme or Decor

With Brooklyn’s rich cultural tapestry and contemporary vibe, it can be tempting to go overboard with a complex wedding theme or extravagant decor. However, simplicity and elegance often shine in this dynamic city. Avoid overwhelming your wedding with too many thematic elements or excessive decor. Embrace the urban chic aesthetic of Brooklyn by incorporating subtle nods to the city’s character, allowing its natural charm to shine through without overwhelming the overall ambiance.

19. Failing to Embrace Local Culinary Delights

Brooklyn is renowned for its vibrant food scene, offering a wide array of culinary delights. Neglecting to embrace local cuisine or overlooking the opportunity to incorporate Brooklyn-inspired dishes can be a missed opportunity for a memorable wedding experience. Consider collaborating with a caterer or food vendors who specialize in local flavors, and incorporate Brooklyn’s culinary gems into your menu. Your guests will appreciate the unique and authentic taste of Brooklyn, making your wedding a true gastronomic delight.

20. Forgetting to Factor in Noise Restrictions

Brooklyn’s lively neighborhoods can sometimes have noise restrictions, particularly in residential areas. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding or selecting a venue close to residential buildings, be mindful of noise limitations and curfews. Check with the venue and local authorities to ensure compliance with noise regulations to avoid any disturbances or interruptions during your wedding celebration.

Planning a wedding in Brooklyn offers a multitude of opportunities to create a one-of-a-kind celebration. By avoiding these common planning mistakes, you can ensure a seamless and unforgettable wedding experience in this vibrant borough. Remember to secure your desired venue early, address transportation and accommodation needs, adhere to local regulations, explore local vendors, embrace the city’s unique culinary offerings, and consider the character of Brooklyn when designing your wedding theme and decor. With careful planning and attention to detail, your Brooklyn wedding will be an extraordinary occasion that captures the essence of this captivating city.

Brian Lawrence is a wedding business marketing expert who has helped thousands of clients like Alan Berg and Joe Bunn with consulting, marketing and web design. We’ve partnered with Brian Lawrence to bring this great advice from some of his amazing clients.